The 80’s were a time for experimentation in music and the solidifying of genres throughout the music industry. Some of the most dynamic bands in the music world have come from the 80’s and are still going strong today, whether it is because of consistent touring or fantastic records. This list highlights ten of the most popular and groundbreaking artists to come from one of the most solid times in music history.
10. Massive Attack The English trip-hop band, Massive Attack, was formed in 1988 and has since released five critically acclaimed albums of mind bending material. With only three U.S. shows announced the band is a rare sight to see in the states and there is no telling when they will return. Spending most of their time in Europe, the band has continued to mesmerize audiences with unique guest filled performances that are backed by intricate instrumentation and a face-melting light show. Even if you have never heard of them the influential pioneers of trip-hop will continue to further cement their legacy in the highly competitive music industry, gaining new listeners as they go.
9. Bon Jovi When people think about the 80’s rock scene they probably think of bands like New Jersey stadium rockers, Bon Jovi. Formed in 1983 and headed by lead singer and namesake Jon Bon Jovi, Keyboardist David Bryan and drummer Tico Torres the rock outfit has become one of the worlds best selling bands of all time. Bon Jovi has sold more then 100 million albums worldwide and performed more then 2,700 concerts in over 50 countries in their fast paced career. Even today they still attract huge crowds to their stadium shows that sell out on a regular basis. Love them or hate them, no one can deny the success and influence the band has had on the 80’s rock scene and with a long list of hits and the energy to persevere, the train known as Bon Jovi is still going strong.
8. Nine Inch Nails Industrial grunge rock has been slowly being revived by hard rock pioneers Nine Inch Nails. Frontman and mastermind Trent Reznor is well known on and off the stage for his fearless approach to music and his critical outlook on the current music scene. Reznor founded the band in 1988 and has since put out intense and moody records that cover numerous topics that include politics, war and relationships. A jack of all trades the NIN frontman does not like to take a break and new material will surely arise whether it will be from his main band NIN or his side-project How To Destroy Angels, and perhaps even from his newfound interest in scoring films. Regardless, whatever direction he takes fans will be there right by his side to experience the genius that is Reznor.
7. Phish As a successful band, touring is just as important as releasing new material. A good live show can go a log way and can even gather a cult following, for example the Grateful Dead. Vermont based jam band Phish can attest to the importance of having a stellar performance due to the fact that the band tours consistently every year and each time they sell out their gigs in large part to their ultra dedicated fans. Formed in 1983 the band is known for their mixture of psychedelic rock, jazz, funk, folk and bluegrass when performing live or on record. Just imagine you are witnessing them live and they begin to play one of your favorite songs off of their albums when suddenly instead of four minutes it becomes ten or even longer. The bands ability to reshape and twist their own material is the secret formula to their unmatched live success. While many bands play the same set on tour over and over, a Phish gig is almost always fresh and new. This could be the reason why so many people flock to the band time and time again.
6. Metallica The legendary metal icons have been decimating crowds all around the world for years. Metallica was formed in Los Angeles in 1981 and has had a strong presence in the heavy metal community on a consistent basis. While they have not put out a new album in some time the band enjoys touring around the world as they headline numerous festivals and large scale venues. Their live shows are loud, earth shattering and epic in every sense of the word. The band has its dissenters, but then again who doesn’t? Frankly the band could give two craps about peoples opinions and they have been around for so long and accomplished so much for their genre that they have earned the right not to buckle under the scrutiny of a handful of people with opposing opinions.
5. Depeche Mode New wave electronic band Depeche Mode was formed in 1980 and has become one of the most popular electronic bands in the world. Known for putting on impressive on stage productions that transcend a simple concert into another beast entirely. The last time the English rockers had a full length tour was in 2009 and while they finished up a short tour this year, there is still the hope that one of the most commercially successful bands in music history will go on a more thorough headlining tour in the near future. A unique blend of hard hitting electronica and crashing guitars make Depeche Mode one of the most sought after headlining acts in the world.
4. Beck Talented singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Beck is one of the most endearing acts from the 80’s and 90’s that is still around today. With twelve genre spanning albums to choose from along with his most recent effort, titled Morning Phase, Beck has discovered a resurgence in popularity. The king of cool, Beck has created his own unique style while performing live that brings the crowd together and feels like more of an intimate gathering then a concert. Don’t get me wrong he can still rock just as hard as anyone, but the way he connects with the audience is more personal then anything. He gives his fans love and they give it back to him two-fold. While playing at random festivals and venues in the last couple of years, Beck has developed a strong set that pays homage to his older more experimental material as well as his recent work. What else can I say about one of the best American songwriters that is still creating beautiful music even today? See him or miss out on one of the best shows out there.
3. Green Day It is not too often that you come across a punk band that has survived the passing of time like Green Day. Just barely making it into the list the band gained most of its fame in the 90’s but was formed in California in 1987 by Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool. With some of the most iconic punk albums released in the 90’s, Green Day is a force to be reckoned with on and off the stage. The punk rockers found a successful formula of melodic ballads and catchy guitar riffs that made the band stand out from the rest of the herd. Upon being noticed early on, Green Day was lifted to the very top of the music world and has become one of the most respected punk rock outfits in history. Like many top notch artists the band is not content to sit idle and live off of their well earned fame, but instead are still releasing albums and touring the world even today.
2. Red Hot Chili Peppers Another California band that has electrified the music industry is the funky alternative rock band the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Formed in 1983 in Los Angeles, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Famers are one of the most popular rock bands in the world. Having won numerous awards and praise from peers and fans alike, RHCP has nothing left to prove. Fusing funk, psychedelic rock and punk together to make a potent mix of head banging tunes that gets the crowd moving with every track. The band has mastered the art of the live show by putting their all into every minute of their sets. With no end to their charisma on and off the stage, RHCP is readying their eleventh full length studio album that will be released in 2015. The band is ready to retake the world by storm in a hail of vicious instruments and unmatchable energy.
1. Radiohead Easily one of the most deserving bands on the list, English alternative rock band Radiohead are one of the most respected artists in the world. Widely considered to be one of the most beloved 90’s bands, the experimental rockers have crafted an impressive and lengthy resume that started the moment they were formed in 1985. Appearing with a unique and original sound that produced some of the most acclaimed records of all time (Pablo Honey, OK Computer, Kid A and more). Radiohead is not just a powerhouse on record, but their live performances are so visually and artistically designed that a Radiohead show becomes more akin to a religious experience for fans and new listeners alike. In all honesty it should not be much of a surprise that the band has nabbed the number one spot, due largely in part to the fact that they are constantly reinventing their sound without compromising their art. This alone could be the reason the band has found success in everything they do and if we look at the bands past you can be sure that your mind will be blown once again by the kings of alternative rock.